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See also: agri-business



From agri- +‎ business,[1] or a blend of agriculture +‎ business, coined by American academic and diplomat John Herbert Davis (1904–1988).[2]



agribusiness (countable and uncountable, plural agribusinesses)

  1. (uncountable) Business (especially big business) connected to agriculture, either owning or operating large-scale farms, or catering to those who do. [from 1950s]
    Synonym: agrobusiness
    • 1955 October 23, “Agribusiness: A new term from Boston: Reprinted from Business Week”, in Des Moines Sunday Register (Sports), volume 107, number 125, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Register & Tribune Co., OCLC 1566275, page 12-S, column 6:
      "Agribusiness," he [John H. Davis] says, "can be used as a starting point in the attack on the problem of farm surpluses and dipping farm incomes." [...] Davis arrives at his estimate that the agribusiness component of the total U.S. economy now accounts for no less than 40 per cent of the total work force and about 40 per cent of the gross national product.
    • 1969 June, Ed Wimmer, “Agri-business centers—big new threat”, in Independent Banker, Sauk Centre, Minn.: Independent Bankers Association of America, ISSN 0019-3674, OCLC 1644026; quoted in Role of Giant Corporations: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Monopoly of the Select Committee on Small Business, United States Senate, Ninety-first Congress, First Session on the Role of Giant Corporations in the American and World Economies: Part 1A—Appendixes: Automobile Industry—1969: [], Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969, OCLC 1097511135, page 1012:
      Plans are underway to open a chain of huge, agri-business farm centers that could be a far greater threat to rural America than anything the big chains or the federal government have caused in the last 50 years. [...] Financial backing for the building of these 40-acre, agri-business, all-engulfing raids on rural America was announced by Litton Industries, now involved in an antitrust suit.
    • 1970 April, “Agricultural Economics”, in Discovery and Growth: Survey of Agricultural Research in Maryland: Eightieth Annual Report: 1966–1967 (Bulletin A; 159), College Park, Md.: University of Maryland Agricultural Research Station, OCLC 21140058, page 9, column 2:
      These county reports were distributed to farmers, assessors, credit agencies, county planning groups, agri-business personnel, Extension agents, vocational agriculture teachers, administrators and individuals with an interest in the land market.
    • 1988, Mahar Mangahas, “Distributive Justice in the Philippines: Ideology, Policy and Surveillance”, in Lim Teck Ghee, editor, Reflections on Development in Southeast Asia, Singapore: ASEAN Economic Research Unit, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, →ISBN, page 95:
      As in the Spanish and American periods, public lands were made available for favoured private interests in agri-business, including foreign interests (using leasing arrangements to avoid the constitutional prohibition on foreign acquisition of land).
    • 2019, Julian Roche, “The Need for Agribusiness”, in Agribusiness: An International Perspective, Abingdon, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 2:
      Primary agribusiness includes three categories (agriculture; livestock; forestry), whereas manufacturing agribusiness includes ten categories to reflect the variety of traded products (canned; cereals; drinks; leather; meat; oils; paper; tobacco; wood; other). In addition, there are service agribusinesses, notably supermarkets. [...] Agribusiness now includes all businesses whose raw materials are primarily products of the land and the sea.
  2. (countable) A business or group of businesses engaged in agriculture, particularly if using modern farming techniques in the process.
    Synonym: agrobusiness
    • 1983 September 21, Steven R. Tabor; Larry C. Morgan, “Agricultural Production Contracting in Pakistan: A Case Study in Agribusiness Innovation”, in Pakistan’s Edible Oilseeds Industry: [], Washington, D.C.: United States Agency for International Development, published March 1984, OCLC 1089340671, part VII (Marketing and Pricing Policies), section VI (Conclusion), paragraph 6.2, page 605:
      The notable difference between the performance of the government's agricultural firms and private agribusinesses is that the private firms use formal production contracts. These contracts add a measure of market security to both the processing factory and the grower which is the cornerstone of an economic atmosphere conducive to rapid agricultural development.
    • 1990, “Introduction and Background”, in Agricultural Engineering in Development: Guidelines for Mechanization Systems and Machinery Rehabilitation Programmes (FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin; 85), Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, →ISBN, page 1:
      The following broad categories of machinery users can be identified: / ― Estates, plantations, and large agri-businesses that purchase their machinery outright or with credit from commercial banks, and have their own maintenance and repair facilities; [...]
    • 1998, Peter Webber, “Economic Activity”, in The UK (Places and Cases), Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: Stanley Thornes (Publishers), →ISBN, page 50:
      Farms are often owned by large companies and are run as agri-businesses which specialise for contract farming.
    • 2006, Sunil Bharti Mittal, “The Corporate Sector Must Turn Around Agriculture”, in India Empowered: Change Agents Speak on an Idea whose Time has Come, New Delhi: Viking, →ISBN, page 273:
      Empowerment is not a moment of epiphany. It sometimes involves a simple direction of helping people help themselves. In Punjab, for example, when we started contract farming for our agri-business, we deliberately involved the women folk in the villages to work in the fields.
    • 2007, J. Dennis Lord, “Poultry”, in John T. Edge, editor, Foodways (The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture; 7), Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, →ISBN, page 93:
      The poultry industry is characterized by a vertical integration in which an agribusiness firm, either through direct ownership or contract, controls the entire production process. Such firms own processing plants, feed mills, and hatcheries, and contract with farmers to raise the chickens.

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ agribusiness, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2012; “agribusiness, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ “Agribusiness: A new term from Boston: Reprinted from Business Week”, in Des Moines Sunday Register (Sports), volume 107, issue 125, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Register & Tribune Co., 23 October 1955, OCLC 1566275, page 12-S, column 6:
    This is [John Herbert] Davis' full definition of the word: "Agribusiness means the sum of all farming operations, plus the manufacture and distribution of all farm production supplies provided by business, plus the total of all operations connected with the handling, storage, processing and distribution of farm commodities."

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from English agribusiness.


agribusiness m (invariable)

  1. agribusiness